On the last work day before the first school day Bigfork’s School Board of Trustees accepted the resignation of High School principal Thom Peck. The reason for Peck’s leaving remains unknown. The separation agreement was signed by Peck on September 3rd during an Executive Session of the Board. During the session Peck invoked his right to privacy. The Board cannot discuss the reason for Pecks departure after 6 years as the BHS principal.
Before voting, the Board was presented with a petition.
“The mystery and conditions surrounding your reasoning and actions are far too nebulous and questionable, not to mention ill-timed,” the petition states. The petition asked the board for more time.
“Why is it so important on this day, at this time, that this agreement is reached?” asked community member Dee Boon.
“It just sort of feels to the public that the board forced this guy to leave,” said Marcus Balgos, who presented the petition. “I think you need to take some more public opinion before you make this move.”
However, the Board noted more time would not provide more illumination.
“Our option tonight is to take the agreement, review the agreement, and vote on it, or postpone,” explained Trustee Denny Sabo, “In a week or two the community won’t know more from us, so I don’t know how that leaves us in any better position in a week from now, two weeks from now, than we are now.”
Not all were sorry to see Peck go; one woman urged the board to “get this man out of here.”
The settlement states Peck will receive his $67,232 salary for the 2008-2009 school year. Starting October 1st the money previously paid toward health insurance will instead go toward a tax-sheltered annuity through AIG. That payment will continue until June 30th.
Peck will continue to work as an educational advisor in an off-campus capacity through the school year. The Agreement has Peck committed to not making a claim against the school district, and includes a letter of recommendation from Superintendent Russell Kinzer about Peck. In it Kinzer lauds several programs developed under his tenure; a Freshman Transition Class, night school program, and drug and alcohol abuse prevention.
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